The Tiny Tyrant’s Hatred of Art.

CREDIT: Flickr/Knight Foundation.

Many people who live rural know just how vital art can be to keeping small towns alive. Art attracts people, creative communities attract people, and small towns get a permanent economic boost, along with younger people deciding to stay, or return, along with new people moving to the area. The NEA is vital to this effort, but if you go by the Regime, the NEA is one of those leftist, elite snobbery deals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump and his henchman Mulvaney cite rural people and towns as a reason to kill off funding the NEA, which simply highlights their ignorance and indifference. This is yet another way the Tiny Tyrant is making sure to screw over all those rural voters and communities.

…Now Fergus Falls can boast that it attracts artists to the area, as well as other people drawn to the quality of life an artsy town can create. “Artists can play a huge role in making communities more attractive to live,” said Michele Anderson, rural program director for Springboard and one of the three staff members who moved to Fergus Falls for the job. “People that maybe thought of their art more as a hobby [are] realizing, ‘Oh, this is something that can make my community a more livable place, it can help inform our future.’”

The sense of pride in the town has been contagious, Anderson says. In recent years clothing shops, a wood-fired pizza restaurant, and even a brewery have opened up downtown.

“We’ve done exactly what an investor would want to see: taken the [NEA] money and leveraged it into private investment,” Zabel said. “As a return on investment, that small amount of public dollars has really meant a lot of leverage and visibility and a lot of investment into that community.”

A common misconception about the NEA is that it funds elite art in wealthier coastal cities and towns. That’s the kind of reasoning offered up by the Trump administration, which has released two budget documents that would completely shut the NEA down starting in 2018.


About 40 percent of NEA projects are in high-poverty neighborhoods, while 14 percent of NEA grants are for projects that at least partially impact rural areas. Another quarter of state agency grants are awarded to rural places, many of which disperse NEA money.

That funding helps bring huge economic benefits to those communities. The arts and culture sector nationally contributes $729.6 billion to the country’s economy, composing 4.2 percent of GDP. That share that has grown by about 35 percent since 1998. The sector employs 4.8 million people.


It certainly has been for Lanesboro, Minnesota, a town of about 750 people. The $50,000 NEA grant that Lanesboro Arts received allowed the organization to finish raising the money it needed to renovate a historic theater into an arts residency and performance space, hiring local contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction workers in the process. The community was also able to leverage the money to hire consultants who put in place guidelines for its historic downtown, which businesses then used to redo their storefronts, investing even more money in the area. More than $2.5 million has now been invested in downtown Lanesboro.

“The results of getting an NEA grant had a lot of ripple effects, not just for our organization but for the community,” said John Davis, executive director of Lanesboro Arts. “Getting one small grant really allowed us to have this upward momentum of success.”

Those projects in turn have put Lanesboro on the map. “The funding from the NEA… really helped solidify Lanesboro as a strong arts community,” he said. The same year it got the funding it was named one of the top 10 small-town art places in the country, while the next year it received the 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. That’s vital for the town to continue to flourish; it’s specifically trying to convince artists and their families to move to Lanesboro.

“How do you sustain small towns, how do you attract new business, how do you attract families to move?” Davis asked. “These are all byproducts of NEA funding… It adds water to the seeds to make a stronger community.”

There’s much more here. Arts of all types are absolutely vital to all humans, and to all human endeavors. Whether it’s visual arts, textiles, television, food, music, or any other type of art, it’s something we all crave. Arts allow for more positive socialness among people, and sparks a chain of creativity. Where there is art, there is thought and communication. Art is the very best of us. Art helps to educate us, to lift us up. We cannot bear the loss of arts, because if we sanction this, we sanction the loss of humanity as well.

The War On Autonomy.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

It seems I never come to the end of people who weakly defend the Tiny Tyrant because Pence. “He would be worse!” I am very tired of hearing that. No, he would not be worse. We’ve had theocrats in office before, remember George faith-based initiatives and abstinence only Bush Jr.? He was a born-again christian theocrat. So yes, Pence would be a theocrat, and while Trump cannot be accurately described as such, he’s acting as  theocrat, so what fucking difference does that make? None. At least Pence would be less likely to let the nukes fly. Although, that said, Pence is up to his pasty neck in the Russia business, too.

Women have been repeatedly targeted in the Fuck You Care Plan, and Trump is happily enabling the ‘moral objection’ shit, along with making some very dangerous moves in regard to abortion. Trump also didn’t waste anytime in removing guidelines and protection for transgender people, including children, and wiped out many protections in place for all LGBT peoples. Trump is more than happy to give the Religious Reich whatever they want, and in return, they will do whatever they think is necessary to keep his abundant arse in power.

The Trump administration is poised to roll back access to birth control by severely weakening Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate —  and, at the same time, dangerously weakening the distinction between “religious” objections and “moral” objections to reproductive health care.

During the Obama years, the birth control wars largely focused on the tension between people seeking contraceptive coverage and religious employers who object to birth control in some form or another. Both Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell, the two contraception cases heard by the Supreme Court in the last several years, involved employers who objected to providing birth control coverage on religious grounds.

Yet a handful of hardliners — the March for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom, Justice Samuel Alito — have tried to blur the line between religious objectors and moral objectors. While cases like Hobby Lobby and Zubik involved claims that people with religious objections to the law often have the right not to follow it, the hardliners would extend this right of defiance to people who raise moral objections not rooted in religious belief.

That’s a major shift that would seriously undermine the efficacy of the law as a whole. And, in a document leaked to Vox’s Dylan Scott and Sarah Kliff, the Trump administration appears to embrace this shift. Under the rule described in this document, employers who do not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees will be permitted to do so so long as they claim that doing so would violate their “moral convictions.”

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder killed Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider, in Wichita, Kansas. By all accounts, Roeder waited in the pews of Tiller’s church, and then following service, he walked into the church foyer and shot him directly in the forehead. Roeder, who was staunchly anti-abortion, committed murder because of Tiller’s national prominence as an abortion provider. Now, eight years later, the country is recreating and expanding the same environment of extremist views that allowed for Tiller’s murder.

Since Trump came into office, his administration and the Republican-majority Congress have been on a mission to impede the rights of people — especially women, girls, and their providers — from accessing constitutionally protected health care services. Earlier this month, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 which Trump vehemently supported. The AHCA disproportionately targets women: domestic abuse, rape, pregnancy, C-section, and maternity care can all be considered preexisting conditions. Less than two weeks later, Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a death wish for women around the world seeking abortion services. The GGR, newly named “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” says that foreign aid can go only to organizations abroad that “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule could affect up to $9 billion in funding that is also used to combat health concerns like HIV/AIDS, Zika, and more.

Trump, an accused sexual assault perpetrator, has always promoted violence and hatred against women, including being able to access safe and legal abortions without criminal prosecution. During his candidacy, Trump said that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure was banned in the United States. Trump eventually changed his mind (his fourth position on abortion in just three days) and claimed that only “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” Nonetheless, this position still leaves abortion providers on the hook for performing a medical procedure that should be decided on by only a doctor and their patient. This kind of rhetoric would only embolden people like Roeder.

Allowing extreme policies against reproductive rights will increase the numbers of unintended pregnancies, which will increase the number of unsafe abortions. If pregnant peoples’ rights to immediate services are curtailed, this will undoubtedly cause a delay in options. As a delay continues, so does the potential for an unwanted pregnancy which could cause seeking a late-term abortion — the same abortions performed by the late Tiller. That, in turn, allows people — who are like Roeder — to effectuate their extremist views on those seeking healthcare services, including but not limited to abortion and family planning options.

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

Today marks the beginning of Pride Month. The Regime, however, is not celebrating. They aren’t even mentioning it, no. Instead, it’s all about:

Yep. You can read all about it here.

A Smithsonian Noose and Lynching Threats.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Facebook).

Yet another noose has been found at The Smithsonian, this time on the floor of an exhibition about segregation.

A noose, a symbol of racial lynching, was found on Wednesday on the floor of an exhibit about segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution officials said.


“The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity,” the institution’s secretary, David Skorton, told the staff in an internal email. “We will not be intimidated.”

Full story here.

Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has been forced to cancel portions of her book tour, thanks to coverage from Fox News, who painted her as an evil anti-Trump person.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor delivered the commencement address last month at Hampshire College, and Fox News aired a portion of the 20-minute speech Sunday that called attention to her criticism of President Donald Trump, reported The Stranger.

Taylor, a Princeton University professor of African-American studies, described the president as a “racist, sexist, megalomaniac,” and the Fox News report suggested that she was encouraging activists to lawlessly thwart the Trump agenda.

After the report on her “Anti-POTUS tirade” aired, Taylor said she has received more than 50 hateful and threatening emails — some of which were issued with such specificity that she canceled portions of a tour to promote her new book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.”

“Shortly after the Fox story and video were published, my work email was inundated with vile and violent statements. I have been repeatedly called ‘n****r,’ ‘b*tch,’ ‘c*nt,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘she-male,’ and ‘coon’ — a clear reminder that racial violence is closely aligned with gender and sexual violence,” Taylor said. “I have been threatened with lynching and having the bullet from a .44 Magnum put in my head.”

She accused the conservative network of airing the report in an attempt to silence her and other Trump critics.

“I am not a newsworthy person,” Taylor said. “Fox did not run this story because it was ‘news,’ but to incite and unleash the mob-like mentality of its fringe audience, anticipating that they would respond with a deluge of hate-filled emails — or worse. The threat of violence, whether it is implied or acted on, is intended to intimidate and to silence.”

This awful reactionary shite on the part of conservatives everywhere is seriously out of hand. Not long ago, PZ had a post up which included a terrifying view of how the GOP thinks, and they think that liberal people are so darn scary, it justifies hiring Three Percenters and Oath Keepers and the like to protect them, because us evil liberals think they are Nazis. Yes, well…if you’re willing to embrace white supremacist ideology and hire Nazis, you should probably expect that sort of thing. People are being murdered; threats are amping up; hate crimes are again spiking. We must carry on fighting, more than ever before.

“Their side uses the threat of violence and intimidation because they cannot compete in the field of politics, ideas, and organizing,” she said. “The true strength of our side has not yet been expressed in its size and breadth, and so they believe they are winning. We have to change this dynamic and begin to build a massive movement against racism, sexism, and bigotry in this country. I remain undaunted in my commitment to that project.”

I stand with Professor Taylor. The right insists that liberals are horrible, violent people, because we do things like criticise, and protest. Oh yes, there are those vicious letter writing campaigns, too. There’s a hell of a lot of projection on the Right Reich’s side, and they are willing to embrace actual violence along with Nazism.

Full story here.